Singapore sets sights on fly-cruise tourism

The marketing partnership will promote cruising out of Singapore on Royal Caribbean's ships Ovation of the Seas (above, at Marina Bay Cruise Centre) and Voyager of the Seas. The ships can accommodate 4,905 guests and 4,269 guests respectively, and ar
The marketing partnership will promote cruising out of Singapore on Royal Caribbean's ships Ovation of the Seas (above, at Marina Bay Cruise Centre) and Voyager of the Seas. The ships can accommodate 4,905 guests and 4,269 guests respectively, and are among the largest in Asia.PHOTO: COURTESY OF ROYAL CARIBBEAN

Royal Caribbean partners Changi Airport Group and tourism board to woo more here for cruises

Tourism will be getting a boost from visitors headed from airport to seaport, as Singapore seeks to woo more travellers to embark on cruises from its shores.

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean International yesterday announced a marketing partnership to grow Singapore's fly-cruise segment and bring in over $26 million in tourism dollars this year.

The partnership between the region's largest cruise brand, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) will promote cruising out of Singapore on Royal Caribbean's ships Ovation of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas. The ships can accommodate 4,905 guests and 4,269 guests respectively, and are among the largest in Asia.

About 45,000 tourists will be flying in to Singapore to sail on the two ships between March and June this year, the cruise operator said.

This is the second partnership among the three - the first, in place since August 2015 to market Royal Caribbean's ship, Mariner of the Seas, is projected to bring over 170,000 fly-cruise visitors and $100 million in tourism receipts to Singapore over three years.

WIN-WIN MOVE

Growing the cruise market and having more ships use Singapore as a port of call gives tourists more options and us an edge.

NGEE ANN POLYTECHNIC'S SENIOR TOURISM LECTURER MICHAEL CHIAM

Royal Caribbean will have its longest deployment in Singapore yet over the next three years (2017-19) and has 72 sailings lined up for its 2017/2018 season, up from 64 sailings for the previous season.

Asia's largest cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas, docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre yesterday for its first season based in Singapore, which will comprise a total of 10 sailings to Penang, Phuket, Bangkok and Tianjin between March and April.

Cruises aboard the 18-deck ship are nearly all sold out, with more than half of the ship's bookings coming from overseas, said Royal Caribbean.

STB's cruise director Annie Chang said that Singapore's position as an Asian cruise hub is supported by arrivals from regional source markets such as India, Australia and Indonesia.

"That Royal Caribbean is increasing its homeported sailings in Singapore signals the success of our partnership in driving cruise tourism for Asia," she added.

Singapore cruise passenger throughput grew 16 per cent to about 1.2 million in 2016, according to figures by the STB.

CAG's vice-president of passenger development Peh Ke-Wei said that Singapore's fly-cruise segment has huge growth potential, particularly with increased traffic from the opening of Changi Airport's Terminal 4 later this year.

CAG is working on a long-term initiative to facilitate seamless transfer of baggage services for fly- cruise passengers, he added.

Asean has committed to developing cruise infrastructure, training staff and improving onshore activities to grow cruise tourism in the region, it was revealed in January.

Royal Caribbean Cruises' managing director for Asia-Pacific Sean Treacy said that while Singapore's strong air connectivity and strategic location is a boon, port infrastructure in the region must be upgraded to accommodate larger ships such as Ovation of the Seas and meet cruise demand in Asia.

Said Ngee Ann Polytechnic's senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam: "Growing the cruise market and having more ships use Singapore as a port of call gives tourists more options and us an edge."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore sets sights on fly-cruise tourism'. Print Edition | Subscribe